Will Lockwood told Canucks reporters before his season debut that he was going to bring a physical element to the lineup.
“Just bringing physicality aspect to the game,” said Lockwood. “Keeping it simple, don’t try to go out there and do too much. That’s kind of been the message.”
And so far, he has been a man of his word. In Lockwood’s first game, he was a nail gun on the ice and threw three hits, one of which blew up Dallas Stars defenceman Joel Hanley, launching him backwards in front of the penalty box. That’s the type of energy Lockwood brings and he is going to be a force to be reckoned with. He is not afraid to drop the gloves either. He has two scraps so far this season in the AHL and considering the Canucks lost both Zack MacEwen and Jonah Gadjovich this season, Lockwood is a serviceable player they should keep around for years to come.
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He is also a University of Michigan product and recorded 85 points in 115 career NCAA games. Not only does he bring that physical element to the lineup, but there’s an offensive upside that can be found in his toolkit that he has brought out to display both in Michigan, and in this past season in Abbotsford.
He’s registered 25 points (9 goals, 16 assists) in 46 games this season with Abbotsford. As my colleague Chris Faber noted in his latest prospects rankings:
“When Lockwood is on the ice, the Abbotsford Canucks control over 60% of scored goals. He has been on the ice for 20 goals for and 13 goals against at five-on-five this season.” Lockwood rightfully earned his call-up back to the show and while he hasn’t found the scoresheet so far, he is due.
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With Tyler Motte being dealt at the trade deadline, Lockwood has the chance to fill that grinder role. Motte was a key component to the Canucks’ “Motto-Line” that consisted of Motte, Juho Lammikko and Matthew Highmore. That line has since been buried in a grave with Motte leaving.
The Canucks now sport a new fourth line which consists of Lockwood, veteran Brad Richardson, and Nic Petan. Their line has produced a Corsi-for percentage (CF%) of 60.7%. During the course of the remaining games, expect the feisty and speedy forward to get some solid minutes in on the bottom six. Next season, he will have the chance to fulfill a full-time role on the bottom six and with his playstyle, he can contribute to the penalty kill.
So far, he has played three games with an ice time average of 9:17. His usage will go up and especially next season we will get more of a feel for Lockwood in the lineup. He has also seen a couple of shifts with the likes of Vasily Podkolzin and Elias Pettersson, both of whom he looked comfortable playing with.
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Right now at the early stages, he’s an energy bug who has been a breath of fresh air on the bottom six and is looking to make himself a household name in Vancouver.